Monday, January 10, 2011


I haven't made up my mind yet if what I'm doing today is really eighty-sixing something, or not. I found a pocket-sized version of the Constitution in my desk drawer and I'm going to take it to work. I'm not really sure who gave me this useful booklet, but it seems to be something that came from the National Constitution Center, which opened in Philadelphia July 4, 2003. I really enjoy reading The Constitution. Even now as I thumb through this handy little booklet I'm interested in the ideas and thoughts that went behind constructing the document. I found the booklet tonight while looking for something else which is very ironic as I was thinking about the VI Amendment on my drive home as NPR played a piece on the man who gunned down six people in Arizona on January 6th; one of which was a child, another was a federal judge, the others were all people loved by someone somewhere that misses them dearly. He also wounded many, including Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head and still struggles to survive. I started thinking about the VI Amendment because of what it says:

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed; which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence."

And it is with those first four words that nearly all of use search for fairness: "in all criminal prosecutions". It's true, in all instances, even like the one that happened Saturday. It's not that I'm a stranger to things like this - I've had the first hand experience of working on cases of people who are facing the death penalty to cases where people steal because they need to eat - but each time I found myself questioning a concept of equal fairness for those that killed several children versus those that stole because they were starving. While I know it's right under the law, it's still hard to grasp.

I will leave you with Lady Justice who balances equally truth and fairness on her scales and is blindfolded for objectivity. Her sword symbolizes reason and justice. She comes in many forms, but all symbolize fairness in the legal system for any party so involved.

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